SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --A Santa Ana thief posed as a Good Samaritan, but it was all just a ploy to steal an elderly woman's purse, police said.
The theft, which happened at a CVS parking lot across from South Coast Plaza at about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, was all caught on camera, according to authorities.
The suspect approached the victim when she was sitting in her car.
"He says, 'Is that your Mercedes?' And I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'That's a beautiful car, but you have scratches on it, and I'll just help you to get the scratches out,'" the victim, who asked ABC7 to only identify her as "Patricia" for safety reason, explained.
At one point the suspect offered to help her roll the windows down, and actually got into the car.
"I would have given him some money if that's what he wanted, but I think he wanted my car," Patricia said.
The man attempted to start the car but wasn't able to because the key fob was too far away.
Police said the man got out of Patricia's car and into his own, grabbing her purse as he drove away.
"As soon as I started away, he grabbed my purse and accelerated, and still held onto it, and he dragged me along, I ran along as much as I could, and then fell down," Patricia recalled.
Patricia suffered injuries to her knee and elbows during the purse snatching.
Officials said they want to identify the man before he strikes again.
"Right now we're at a loss, we're trying to get this guy identified before he hurts someone really bad," Cpl. Anthony Bertagna with the Santa Ana Police Department said.
Authorities described the suspect as a white man, about 24 years old, 5-feet-7-inches tall, 145 pounds with wavy brown hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans torn at the knees, and blue shorts underneath the jeans.
His vehicle was described as a newer 4-door sedan, stock condition with damage to the rear bumper.
If you have any information that could aid detectives in their investigation, you were urged to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-847-2227. Tipsters can remain anonymous.